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Environment

ADB promotes and invests in nature and environmental sustainability to achieve economic growth and reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific.

ADB's Work for Environmental Sustainability

ADB supports its developing member countries (DMCs) in improving environmental management, investing in natural capital conservation and restoration, and ensuring that ADB projects contribute to water, energy, and food security. Central to ADB’s Strategy 2030 Operational Priority 3 is enhancing environmental sustainability. ADB works across the region to help DMCs achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which are all underpinned by natural resources and our environment. This work involves strengthening capacity, mobilizing resources, and developing better indicators to measure progress towards goals and targets.

Air quality

ADB supports improved air quality through projects, technical assistance, and knowledge management. For example, ADB has invested more than $2.15 billion in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to improve air quality, boost green financing, and the transition to cleaner fuel. Mongolia has worked with the bank on policy reforms and cleaner power generation. On a regional level, ADB has partnered with Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and the PRC on planning, capacity building, and data management to enhance low carbon growth. Work is ongoing to develop clean air action plans in major cities throughout developing Asia where vehicles, industry, and power generation cause serious pollution.

Air Quality
Emissions from coal-fired power plants contribute to the air pollution in Mongolia. Photo: Ariel Javellana/ADB

Green business development

ADB works to stimulate the development of green businesses in the region. These include companies involved in solid waste management, air quality, wastewater, sanitation, and natural capital. Market-based instruments, such as fuel taxes and green subsidies, can reduce pollution and improve resource efficiency through incentives, behavior change, and innovation. Environmental taxes and tradeable permit markets can also boost government revenue for environmental improvement.

Green business development
A worker at a Phuc Trach commune in Viet Nam. Photo: Tran Viet Tuan/ADB

Natural capital and biodiversity

ADB has long been committed to protecting natural capital and biodiversity to support economic growth and improve people’s lives throughout the region. This includes management of protected areas, safeguarding watersheds, restoring habitats, and conserving biodiversity. ADB also provides knowledge and technical support for the inclusion of environmental issues into infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges. This approach is designed to maximize the economic and social impact of the projects while minimizing the environmental cost.

Natural capital and biodiversity
Sea-buckthorns harvested in the mountains of Nepal. Photo: Samir Jung Thapa/ADB

Ocean health

ADB is committed to boosting investment in healthy oceans to $5 billion by 2024, focusing on coastal and marine ecosystem resilience, circular economy for plastic-free oceans, sustainable seafood, and ocean finance. The Ocean Finance Framework describes the types of projects that meet the criteria for investments under the Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies. ADB issued its first blue bond for $300 million in September 2021, launched the Blue SEA (Southeast Asia) Finance Hub in November 2021, and is developing a technical assistance project for approval in 2022.

Ocean health
Divers remove crown of thorns starfish in Coron, Philippines as part of efforts to conserve coral reefs. Photo: Brian Manuel/ADB

Water, food and energy

ADB’s Strategy 2030 recognizes the close link between water, energy, and food security for poverty reduction and development. Careful management is required to balance water use for food, energy, industry, and domestic consumption. ADB has been encouraging sustainable and equitable water use through its country water assessments and supporting integrated water resources management.

Water, food and energy
Water channel used to irrigate terraced farms in Nepal. Photo: Samir Jung Thapa/ADB

ADB Green and Blue Bonds

The Green Bond program enables ADB to support its developing member countries seeking to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change, whilst delivering environmentally sustainable growth to help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.

Operational Priorities

Strategy 2030 sets seven operational priorities, each having its own operational plan. The operational plans contribute to ADB’s vision to achieve prosperity, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability, and are closely aligned with Strategy 2030 principles and approaches.

Experts

Qingfeng Zhang
Qingfeng Zhang

Chief of Environment Thematic Group

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